Saturday, February 23, 2013

Orange Glazed Tofu with Cashews (Vegan)

A few years ago, I was in Colorado for a Yoga Journal conference. While there, I had the opportunity to hear a woman named Sally Kempton speak on the Hindu goddess Kali. I was so moved by her. Not only for the quality of her knowledge and lecture, but for the depth of her own warmth and enthusiasm on the topic.

For that reason, I picked up her new book recently.

Not my usual kind of read, if I'm being honest. I usually gravitate toward the ancient texts or toward asana (poses) and therapeutics. But I so clearly remember how I felt when hearing Sally Kempton speak, that I knew this would be a good one.

And it is. In only the first two chapters I already have a clearer understanding of how to more fully appreciate and incorporate these devis into my life. Maybe the most inspiring for me is how she draws parallels between the stories of the goddesses, their qualities, and how we can use them in our lives. For example, the quality of being a good mother, or devoted wife, or how to use our anger only when appropriate.

It hits home for me, as so much of my practice is not on the mat, but in service to my family. There are, truly, times when I feel a little bogged down by it all. It helps to shift perspective from one of "heavy load" to one of "service." And I do need reminders to communicate more clearly and less from the emotional state, from time to time.

This week's recipe was like that. I really, really didn't want to cook that night, my husband was at work, and it would have been easy to just grab something for the kids. But with a few centering breaths, some letting go of the "work" of it all, something really nice evolved. I hope you like it.

As for the recipe, I love that it has little sugar compared to the commercial or restaurant version, no breading of the tofu, and no corn syrup.

Orange Glazed Tofu with Cashews.

For the glaze:

1/4 cup each water and rice wine vinegar
3 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated (also known as "Cuties")
1 inch of ginger, peeled
1/4 cup of raw sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

In a small pan combine the water, vinegar, oranges, ginger and sugar. (the cornstarch will be added later). Use the bottom of a cup or jar to smoosh the oranges a bit, so they can release their flavor. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vinegar smell becomes less prominent. Remove and discard the ginger. Remove the pan from heat, set aside.

For the tofu:

1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup of unsalted cashew pieces
soy sauce

Heat a few Tbsp. of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Cook the tofu over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add in the cashews and a few light dashes of soy sauce, and continue to cook about 1 minute. Stir in the green onions.

At this point, stir the cornstarch (I usually dissolve it into a bit of water first) into the orange glaze, and add the glaze into the tofu. Heat until shiny and thick, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice (the first time we had this, it was over brown rice, and we all agreed it was better than over white rice). Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pozole Verde (Vegan)

I've been hearing about pozole for as many years as I've been married to my husband. The problem is, it's usually made with chicken or pork. And honestly, I've never thought about making a vegetarian option.

But when my sister started outlining her recipe for chicken pozole verde, I knew I had to try one out, vegetarian style.

The way it's served kind of reminds me of Vietnamese pho. The broth is really simply made, and the key is all the delicious stir-ins.

Soup Base:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups of clear vegetable stock
3 cups of water
1 Tbsp cumin
3 tsp. Mexican oregano (or more, to taste)
1 small can of salsa verde (about 7 oz.)
1 large can of hominy
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the onion and saute until soft. Stir in the cumin and oregano, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, water and salsa verde. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.   Stir in the hominy and heat through.

Serve with:
chopped cabbage
lime wedges
sliced radishes
sliced jalapeno
and fried tortilla strips

Stir in what you like and enjoy!